Social media usage is becoming more common, especially among today’s children and teenagers. There is understandably some panic surrounding this, as teachers and parents fear that their children will develop a severe case of screen addiction, or worse, be exposed to cyber-bullying. These concerns are rational, but teachers should know that there are positives to using social media in the classroom.
By using social media in the classroom, teachers and students have a chance to explore the different educational benefits of today’s digital technology. This can be extremely helpful, and rather than punish students for checking their smart phones, we believe that teachers should teach them how to use this technology for good. In effect, we’ve come up with some reasons why every K-12 teacher should use social media in the classroom.
5 Reasons to Use Social Media in the Classroom:
1. Students are already using social media, anyway.
Lets face it: Kids are going to use their devices in class. They’re going to check Facebook and update their Instagram profiles. They’re going to text rather than pass notes.
Students shouldn’t be penalized for using the devices and services that are quickly becoming staples of everyday life. Instead, they should be encouraged to use them respectfully and responsibly. Teachers should challenge students to use social media in creative ways that augment the classroom experience.
2. Social media integration discourages cyber-bullying.
Social media applications such as Yammer provide a more intimate digital space in which students and educators can interact. In recent years, the epidemic of cyber–bullying has gained national attention. Integrating social media elements into the classroom raises the concern of introducing more opportunities for cyber–bullying.
However, because teachers can moderate interactions on Yammer, the digital classroom will be established as a respectful place for students to express their insights and ideas. Yammer won’t cure cyber-bullying, but when students know that their social media interactions are monitored, they’ll be more inclined to treat one another in a professional manner.
3. Social media can encourage thoughtful discourse.
The pressure of giving the right answer in a timely fashion can sometimes cause students to blurt out responses that aren’t fully formed. By moving the discourse online and giving students time to think about their responses, students can delve deeply into a topic and respond after they’ve had enough time to reflect.
4. Social media facilitates a sense of reliability and community.
School can be a hectic experience. With all the distractions present in everyday life, a little support can go a long way. Having a digital classroom that encompasses one’s peers beyond just personal friendship can be a great forum to set up study groups and impromptu brainstorming sessions. It can even be a place for struggling students to voice frustrations with the class and ask for help.
5. Social media encourages increased responsibility and autonomy.
Embracing social media in the classroom can encourage more responsibility among students in regards to their education. It can also help emphasize interpersonal relationships based around education rather than entertainment. As a college student, I have developed strong relationships with my work peers. We bounce ideas off each other and offer constructive criticism. I know first-hand that encouraging peer-to-peer learning in early education can help students evaluate their progress overtime.
On their own, social media apps are formidable tools in the classroom. However, one of the pillars of the digital classroom is integration. With designated social media tiles for applications such as Twitter and Yammer, LiveTiles Mosaic is a great “no code” solution that encourages the responsible use of these apps.
As the screen shot below shows, Mosaic’s intuitive UI enables quick access to social media apps, and students will be able to do what is asked of them without having to leave the Mosaic hub.
With features like this, Mosaic provides educators and students the benefits of social media in the classroom, while at the same time, minimizes the usual distractions that come with social media. This is key to facilitating a healthy consumption of social media in and outside of the classroom.